Alert: carcinogenic substances found in our anti-acne treatments

Alert: carcinogenic substances found in our anti-acne treatments

An independent American laboratory denounces: many popular brands of acne creams based on benzoyl peroxide, such as Clinique or Clearasil, contain an excessively high level of a carcinogenic molecule, benzene.

Do we really know what we are applying to our skin? According to an analysis by Valisure LLC, an independent testing laboratory, high levels of the cancer-causing chemical benzene have been found in various benzoyl peroxide (BPO) acne products including major brands like Clinique, Clearasil or Neutrogena.

Amounts of benzene detected in acne creams

Valisure tested 66 BPO products, including creams, lotions, gels and cleansers available over the counter or in prescription form. Currently, FDA guidelines, Food and Drug Administration of the United States, allows up to 2 parts per million of benzene. But in fact, Valisure has found acne products that contain up to 12 times the allowed amount.

According to its tests, Valisure discovered among the creams that we also find in Europe that:

  • BPO 2.5% cream Clinique, from Estée Lauder contained 401 parts per million;
  • Cream Clearasil 10% BPO from Reckitt Benckiser Group contained 308 parts per million.

Valisure also found detectable levels of benzene in BPO cream from La Roche-PosayPanOxyl BPO cream, Sandra Lee MD BPO lotion, Oxy BPO cream, BPO cream GaldermaEquate BPO cream and many others…

Valisure has therefore filed a petition with the FDA to recall treatments.

What is the problem with benzene?

Benzene has been classified as a human carcinogen (IARC Group 1) since 1979, based on sufficient evidence that it causes leukemias. The bad news is that benzoyl peroxide widely used in acne control can now break down into benzene.

“Here, it is not a question of contamination, but rather of benzoyl peroxide breaking down into benzene, stimulated by the formulation of the products themselves. What is concerning is that almost all products containing Benzoyl peroxide tested formed benzene (even the new topical triple combination), often at levels 2 to 1,000 times the limit. says Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, associate professor of dermatology and physician-scientist at Yale University School of Medicine.

To make matters worse, in the study the breakdown of benzoyl peroxide to benzene was accelerated by exposure to high temperatures equivalent to a hot bathroom or car, meaning patients and consumers must be careful about how to store their product containing benzoyl peroxide.

Even more concerning, as benzoyl peroxide breaks down into benzene, the gaseous form of benzene has been found to penetrate through sealed packages at levels nearly 1,000 times the lifetime exposure limit.

Reviewing the use of creams with BPO is a priority

“Dermatologists are waking up this morning to shocking news that benzoyl peroxide, a widely used over-the-counter and prescription drug, breaks down into benzene, a well-known carcinogen” recognizes the scientist.

In fact today, in the United States, as in Europe, millions of patients use over-the-counter and prescription acne products containing benzoyl peroxide, Bunick said.. “Dermatologists will need to have serious discussions with their patients about the long-term safety risks of using these benzene-containing products.” concludes the press release.